6 Ways to Stop Employee Turnover in Its Tracks

April 26th, 2017 Comments off
stop employee turnover

At small businesses, employee turnover is no small deal. Staff sizes are already small, so when one person leaves, it makes an impact on both productivity and morale. As you take the time (and money) to hire and train someone new, the rest of the employees are left must pick up the slack. Instead of waiting for employees to quit, stop employee turnover before it starts. Below are the major reasons employees leave their jobs – and what you can do to prevent them.

  1. No opportunities for advancement. One of the major reasons employees leave their jobs is that they do not see any chance to advance at their current companies. This is especially common at small businesses, where opportunities for upward mobility are few and far between. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help employees create a satisfying career path that meets their goals. (Get more tips for creating a career path for your small business.)
  2. They have no work-life balance. Not only does helping employees achieve a healthy work-life balance help them, it’s good for business. Ask your employees what you can do to ease their schedules and see if you can arrange to let them work from home a few times a month or create more flexible schedules. (Learn more ways to help employees achieve work-life balance.)
  3. They are burned out. Employee burnout is all too common in workplaces where workers are constantly challenged to “do more with less.” When push comes to shove, employees may start to look elsewhere for a less stressful environment. If you think this is the case at your company, there are steps you can take to lighten their workload, reduce stress and prevent burnout, such as helping them prioritize projects and manage their time or bringing in some temporary help.
  4. They don’t get along with their bosses. An estimated 50 percent of workers have left a job “to get away from a bad manager,” according to Gallup research. But what defines a bad manager? In a separate CareerBuilder study, workers who showed the least satisfaction with their bosses said they needed improvement in the following areas: communication style, attitude toward employees, equal treatment of employees and recognition of employees’ good work. Make sure your managers are providing your employees the support they need. Survey your employees to find out where management could improve and take the necessary measures to to fix these areas.
  5. They don’t get along with their co-workers. Just as important as getting along with your boss is getting along with your employees. Research shows a direct link between job satisfaction and how well people get along with their colleagues. Unfortunately, not all companies get along “like family.” Learn the signs of a toxic work culture and, if you recognize them, take steps to eliminate the problem.  
  6. They want more pay. This is a tough area for small businesses, where they cannot always pay as much as bigger companies. If you can’t afford to offer your employees a raise, you may be able to offer perks that can help them save money and help fill the compensation gap. These include transportation and tuition reimbursement, telecommuting options and extra PTO. (For more ideas, check out What to Offer Your Employees When You Can’t Offer a Raise.)

With small businesses, where the HR “team” is often a one-person operation, managing your workforce is no easy task. Consider looking into human capital management software, which can help small businesses automate workplace tasks, making it easier to manage everything from employee benefits, to the onboarding process to background checks. This way, your HR teams are less burdened with paperwork and better able to tend to employees’ needs on a human level, which can have a direct impact on employee satisfaction and retention.

Want to find out how your employees really feel about their jobs? Ask them. Check out The Best Questions for Your Employee Engagement Survey.


The Emotional Cost of Turnover

June 24th, 2015 Comments off
Talent advisor Steve Browne on the emotional cost of turnover

Talent advisors often read articles and blog posts about the front end of the employee life cycle. We are in a war for talent, after all, and posts about attracting talent, employer brand, hiring best practices and onboarding are everywhere. While it’s true that we can always improve the way we attract, recruit and retain employees, we rarely talk about the “end” of the employee lifecycle — when people leave for another job — unless it’s wrapped up in fearful language.

When we do read about turnover, there are plenty of posts on how to fire legally, how to avoid litigation, and how to stop yourself from doing some boneheaded thing when terminating an employee. All too often, we share “HR horror stories” and malign our staff who choose to leave our organizations. We treat their departures like it’s scandalous news in a tabloid. It isn’t healthy, and it makes talent advisors wary of the end of the employee life cycle.

Turnover is natural. Turnover is an occurrence. Turnover has a financial implication, of course, but there’s also an emotional component that all talent advisors must consider.

Step Back with Me for a Second

Are you still at the first job you started with in your career? You may be, and I applaud that, but I would venture to say that the vast majority of people reading this have held more than one job. If you left a job, voluntarily or not, you were part of turnover. The company you left is probably still around even though you aren’t. Since this transition has happened to almost all of the employees who were in the workforce since the beginning of humankind, stop magnifying turnover and learn to work with it.

Don’t Celebrate the Departed

There are plenty of situations in which we want someone to leave a company. It is tough to admit, but we know it’s sometimes true that if an employee leaves, a dark cloud will be lifted from a department or organization.

When that employee leaves, you have to be careful of people celebrating the dead. That may sound harsh, but I’ve seen it happen more often that I’d care to admit. It isn’t right. When a person leaves, we need to show grace and help our remaining team members forward in a positive manner. Gossipy, open-ended conversations about a current or former employee’s faults and failures will kill your culture. Avoid doing this.

Grief is Real

What do you do when an esteemed employee — someone who is admired as a nice human being and a top performer — leaves your company? When this occurs, people experience a genuine sense of loss. They may grieve. You need to be there as both a leader and a counselor to help people work through this loss. Don’t blow it off or tell people to get over it. That’s not helpful, and it will also kill your culture.

Meet People Emotionally Before You Address Them Rationally

As I mentioned earlier, turnover happens. And you have to remember that, whatever the circumstance, these are human beings who are leaving your organization. People with hearts, minds, souls and families. It isn’t about swapping out a new piece of furniture and sending the old pieces to the curb. These are people whose lives change when they leave the company. They face an emotional shift just as much as those who stay behind.

We don’t like to talk about emotions because they are unpredictable and messy, but that’s why I work in human resources and love being a talent advisor.

So remember that turnover is natural. Shift your focus and treat it as if you knew it was coming. You’ll be glad you did.

Throughout the month of June, Steve and our talent advisors will continue dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.